Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f
Abacadabras: High-class multiple Grade 1-winner who showed he was quite at home at this trip when landing the Aintree Hurdle last April. That effort and his best form makes him a formidable contender but he has found Honeysuckle too strong on several occasions already.
Darasso: Did well on heavy ground a couple of seasons ago but has bounced back to his best on decent ground over the last few months and comes here off a fine win in the Lismullen Hurdle. This is much tougher though.
Latest Exhibition: High-class staying novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago and progressed into a quality novice chaser last term when he held his own at the top level. Interesting that he switches back to hurdles and could easily have more to give in this sphere, but this looks a tough enough reintroduction to hurdling.
Ronald Pump: Former Stayers’ Hurdle second ran a tremendous race in this event last year to finish a half-length second to Honeysuckle. That run makes him an interesting contender, but last year he had the advantage of a previous run whereas this year he is having his first run and that could leave him vulnerable.
Saldier: Won at Grade 1 level earlier in his career and has come back to his best this season with wins in the Galway Hurdle and a useful Grade 3 at Tipperary early last month. This trip shouldn’t be a problem for him and he has previously looked quite at home at this level so he is not one to underestimate.
Sams Profile: Quality stayer at his best and won the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran last season. Returns to hurdles off a disappointing showing over fences at Galway last month and looks up against it taking on some quality rivals over a trip that could be short of his best.
Sire Du Berlais: Dual Pertemps Final hero who successfully transitioned to graded company last season when his efforts were headed by a second in the Stayers’ Hurdle. Could again have a say in that race come March and should improve for his recent comeback, but three miles does seem to bring out the best in him.
Honeysuckle: Outstanding mare who is chasing a hat-trick in this race and her form last season sets her apart from these rivals as she won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham with plenty to spare either side of Grade 1 wins at Leopardstown and Punchestown. Her lack of a recent run could give her rivals a chance, but she has yet to be beaten and she is very hard to look past.
Skyace: Bagged a Grade 1 win over this course and distance last Easter but has found things tougher since then and her last two runs would suggest she has a lot to find to get involved.
Stormy Ireland: Enjoyed a spectacular return to Willie Mullins earlier this year when she won a Grade 2 over this course and distance before then securing a Grade 1 triumph at the Punchestown Festival. She will be dangerous from the front, but this race demands a career best and another step forward is going to be needed.
Honeysuckle can make it three wins in succession. Her lack of a previous run this season gives her rivals a chance and Saldier could be the most likely one to capitalise but it is still impossible to oppose the star mare. Abacadabras seemed to enjoy tackling this trip at Liverpool in the spring and should be up to posting another honourable effort at the top level.